The Western Conference has better overall teams right now but they usually are the division that beats the hell out of each other and the Eastern Conference team takes advantage of that. The West this season have four of the 10 top teams in the NHL. All these teams are just trying to one-up each other and a lot of trades occurred within this conference. Almost all of them.
- Nashville Predators: A very big day for the Predators, they added the perfect model for playoff hockey and a great third line, second line winger, power play guy in Wayne Simmonds. As well add some a solid two-way forward in Mikael Granlund who will come in and play on the second line right away. The Predators bolster that offensive front end even more now. With the additions of Simmonds, Granlund and Boyle the Predators seem like the Blue Jackets of the West. The Predators are really one piece away from a Cup. They have the best back end in hockey, a solid goaltender and now a very deep front end. I would be shocked not to see this team deep in the playoffs.
- Winnipeg Jets: Adding more forward depth in Kevin Hayes immediately makes the Jets a stronger team. With the addition of Hayes it allows for now three producing forward lines. The Jets nine look like, Wheeler, Scheifele, Connor, Hayes, Laine, Ehlers, Little, Perreault and Roslovic cannot be disappointed in that front nine. The Jets are a very good team and are going to find their stride here soon but also the addition of Nathan Beulieu and Matt Hendricks add some depth that will be needed come playoff time.
- Vegas Golden Knights: Anytime you add a 30-goal scorer you immediately are a winner and that is what Vegas did. They win the Stone sweepstakes and now make their top-nine very dangerous. Pairing Stone on that first line with William Karlsson and Jonathan Marchessault will be interesting to watch. Which also means that Riley Smith moves to the third line and Cody Eakin and Brandon Pirri, Smith third line is pretty solid. Could have used a minor defenseman move but the Knights add a very good playoff player and an overall great teammate and competitor in Stone that is going to make this team a lot better.
- San Jose Sharks: Adding Gustav Nyquist is very big. Nyquist is a veteran forward who can play top-six minutes, power play and is a great play maker. Pairing him with Joe Thornton and Kevin LeBlanc will pay off but Nyquist gets paired with a goal scorer like Kane, Couture, Hertl or Pavelski it could be big for the Sharks. A great move by the Sharks to add Nyquist a guy in his prime time, loads of experience and a versatile player come this push for the playoffs. This will be a trade we look back on and say really helped improve the Sharks roster the 2019 playoff run.
Calgary Flames: After you miss the playoffs and then bounce back and have this year, the Flames should of done something. They added a depth defenseman but that is not going to be the make or break between winning a playoff series vs Winnipeg or Nashville. The Flames are good young team that probably did not want to ruin the chemistry but still adding some depth on the front end would have been big. Adding Kevin Hayes would have been really big, Hayes and Gaudreau have such a chemistry too that you would think it would have been easier to land Hayes. For a team that turned it around like this and did nothing is a little disappointing.
Chicago Blackhawks: Could use a defenseman or bottom-six forward. The team is being held together by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane they will not be able to carry this team for the rest of the season. Perhaps Bowman figured they were a done deal and did not want to risk any assets but the Blackhawks missing the playoffs this season never looks good. I just deem them as losers because they have been playing very well these last few months and could possibly make a playoff push too.
Edmonton Oilers: If you are an Oilers fan this has to be a sign that the GM has thrown in the white flag and just waiting for the off-season. Sure they are a done deal right now but with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on that roster it is tough to see them consistently miss the playoffs and they have not done anything to make this team better or help these superstars in Edmonton out. Very bad showing by Edmonton.
The Eastern Conference has been the better of two divisions over the last few years. And looking at the division now with the Tampa Bay Lightning already at the 100 points 62 games into the season, the Eastern Conference has the biggest fish in the sea right now. Which means all the other contending teams have to go out and improve to make themselves compete vs Tampa Bay.
- Columbus Blue Jackets: No argument here. The Blue Jackets only have 3 draft picks this draft but they acquire a top-30 NHL player(Matt Duchene), an up and coming forward (Ryan Dzingel) who will need no time to adjust to the NHL as he has proven to be a top-six guy. In addition they add Keith Kinkaid who has had a rough season in New Jersey this year but a lot of that is due to the players in front of him. Never hurts to add a back up goalie. Finally, Adam McQuaid, depth is big in the playoffs and so is physicality and size. The playoffs are a different game and it gets more physical and guys like McQuaid who can kill a penalty and play the number six/seven role on Columbus is a perfect fit. In all honesty, with the way the Penguins and Capitals have looked this season, the Blue Jackets now have a legitimate shot at the Conference finals. As long as the Islanders do not upset them and Sergei Bobrovsky comes to play.
- Boston Bruins: The Bruins are well aware that they are not the top-dog in the East anymore. They have to make their roster especially their front end just as good if not better than Tampa Bay and Toronto. They did exactly that by adding Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson. Johansson now slots in at line two with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk and Coyle is a third line center. Depth down the middle and on the wing is big. Johansson is not the biggest playoff performer but he is finally getting healthy and could hit his stride here for Boston.
- Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres back end is really their biggest concern they lack consistency and depth there is no denying that. Their offense can definitely be more consistent too but the Sabres are losing games 5-4 too often. With the addition of Brandon Montour it really helps bolster this blue line for a possible playoff push but also further down the road. Montour provide his worth at the NHL level last season and has 25 points this season already on pace to surpass his 32 points last season.
- Florida Panthers: They are out of a playoff spot perhaps but they needed to do something in my opinion, maybe they are waiting for the off-season but the Panthers have Mike Hoffman, Alexsander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Evgenii Dadanov on the front end they should be a better team. Adding some depth up front or a goalie would have been smart but the Panthers again stay still and do not improve and miss the playoffs.
- Washington Capitals: Coming off a Stanley Cup and all you add is Carl Hagelin is not going to cut it. Sure, Hagelin has playoff experience and adds some depth but the Capitals have been a disaster on the back end, they needed add some defensive depth and not doing so really hurts them. I don’t think we see this team play the same way they did last playoffs come this playoff run. For sure losers by adding just a bottom-six forward.
- Carolina Hurricanes: Currently in a playoff spot, have not made the playoffs in nine years, so much talk about re-location. Give the fans something to look forward too maybe a playoff series that is? Not just the hopes of a playoff spot. The Hurricanes have so much cap room too that they are just not using or waiting to spend on Aho. They did Nino Niederreiter but they need a little more fire power on the front end. A guy like Kevin Fiala could of helped, Tanner Pearson, Derick Brassard, Marcus Johansson. I don’t know for a team that is playing well and has a chance to sneak in and make the playoffs to do nothing is not great. They may have been bounced in the first round but at least making the playoffs gets the fans excited and puts the Hurricanes some what back on the map.
As the Trade deadline nears in on its final hours here is what we have seen in the last three hours.
Kevin Hayes was sent to Winnipeg for Brendan Lemieux, a 1st rounder and conditional pick (4th rounder if Jets win Stanley Cup)
Montreal acquired some depth down the middle. Jordan Weal the former Flyer who was sent to Arizona this season has now landed in Montreal. Montreal traded away Michael Chaput for Weal. Weal
Adam McQuaid was just sent to Columbus for a 4th and 7th rounder. McQuaid was a former Bruin until he made his way to New York. Now Columbus has been apart of three deals within the last 48 hours.
Brassard, the veteran center provides some depth down the middle and up front to a team that struggles with forward depth. The Colorado Avalanche acquire Brassard for a 2020 3rd round pick.
To keep this short and concise due to the amount of trades that can happen. I will do a bigger over view after the deadline is over for now. Just the details.
Columbus made another trade this time for New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid.
Columbus received Keith Kinkaid and devils received a 2022 5th round pick.
The Sharks made a great deal for a premier passer, veteran and top-six forward. Gustav Nyquist was sent to San Jose for a 2nd and 3rd round pick.
The Sabres made a surprising deal that caught some of us off guard for Ducks young defenseman, Brandon Montour. Buffalo picked up Montour and Ducks received a 1st rounder (San Jose 1st round from Kane deal) and prospect Brandon Guhle.
As confirmed by multiple sources Matt Duchene is headed to Columbus for Jonathan Davidsson and Vitaly Abramov plus multiple draft selections. Columbus now puts themselves in the all in corner. As they have Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene who are going to be free-agents and all expecting well over 7 million a year the Blue Jackets will not be able to afford all three of these players. Only one of them will re-sign, hopefully.
With this addition of Duchene the Blue Jackets line are projected to look like:
It is certainly an upgrade but does this top-six make them potential cup contenders though? They still have to get through Tampa Bay, Toronto, Boston, Washington, Islanders to get a chance at the Stanley Cup and we can all sit here and argue that the Leafs, Bruins, Lightning and Islanders top-six is just as good if not better.
This was an excepted landing spot for Duchene. But, with this trade now per say Panarin walks and Bobrovsky is traded or walks, the Blue Jackets would be able to sign Duchene back. That is my prediction, Panarin walks and so does Bob and Duchene re-signs in Columbus at end of season.
The news broke about 40 minutes ago, being that it was very vague at first I was hesitant to post the news. But Bob McKinzie did confirm that Coyle was sent to Boston.
The trade details are as follows. Bruins receive Charlie Coyle, Wild receive Ryan Donato and a fifth-round pick.
Coyle played 479 games with the Wild amounting to 242 points (91G, 151A). Coyle was a first round 28th overall draft pick in 2010 by the Sharks until he was sent to Minnesota. Ryan Donato was a 2nd round 56th overall draft pick in 2014 for Boston. He played in 46 NHL games collecting 18 points (11G, 7A). Donato came on the scene last season in the final regular season games for the Bruins.
The Bruins add some offensive upside with Coyle and a much needed right handed shot. Coyle has the potential to play on the second line with David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk or they can slot him as the 3rd line center. As of now it seems Coyle will be a second line right winger.
This means when David Pastrnak comes back the Bruins top-six will now be Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Coyle, DeBrusk, Krejci a sure upgrade. Donato will probably not see much NHL time with Minnesota this season but 22-years-old and the glimpses we have seen at the NHL level for him so far he has potential to be a second line center/left winger or at minimum a third line center.
Coyle is 26-years-old on a 3.2 million dollar AAV contract (6.4 cap hit) and will become a UFA in 2020 offseason. Coyle has 28 points in 60 games played this season (10G, 18A) and has collected 35+ points in every season since 2014 his best year came in 2016-17 when he tallied 56 points (18G, 38A).